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If:

1. Abortion is immoral

2. Birth control reduces abortions

3. Government mandates that increase the cost of insurance are equivalent to wealth redistribution

4. Wealth redistribution is immoral

5. The government mandate reduces abortion and redistributes wealth

Then:

Opposition to government mandate indicates wealth redistribution is more immoral than abortion, therefore money is of higher value than human life.

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In a stunning victory for Christianity, Mark Driscoll has converted Lisa Frank to Christianity and she has joined his Seattle church. Already, the artistic genius of Ms. Frank is making itself visible in the life of Mars Hill Church. In the recently unveiled “Peasant Princess” series found here, Frank’s talents have been put to good use. When asked for comment about Frank’s participation on the Mars Hill team, Mark Driscoll responded, “When I first met Lisa, I wasn’t sure I wanted to preach her the Gospel. After all, Jesus would never carry a Lisa Frank binder. But then the Holy Spirit TV Screen™ kicked on, and the Lord showed me her talent. I thought ‘You know, cute neon woodland creatures would be the perfect thing to go with a discussion of the sexually charged Song of Solomon.” Frank reported being happy with the move. “I’m just so excited. I’ve always wanted to use my art to reach people older than 11.” Truly the angels rejoice.

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A Song For NASCAR Jesus

Words fail me.

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This post continues a series about feminism, engagement, and wedding planning.  If you’re curious why I’m blogging on this, you can start at the first post in the series.  Or backtrack your way through the series by jumping to the previous post.

engagement ringAs happy as I was to be engaged, I dreaded what I knew was coming next: “Let me see the ring!”  It became rather tiring to explain over and over why I didn’t have an engagement ring, and I hated all the attention to begin with.  Even if I did have a ring, why did all these people think I would want to show it off for them to evaluate?

Jeremiah wasn’t crazy about the fact that I had rejected the engagement ring tradition, but his reasoning made me even more glad I had.  He knew others would judge him by the sort of ring he picked out, so not buying me a ring made him look cheap and rude.  But that was part of the problem, I thought.  I don’t even care for jewelry, so receiving a diamond ring would be nothing but an acquiescence to the pressures of our culture—pressures for men to prove themselves as providers and pressures for women to measure others’ value by the quality of the man on their arms, as demonstrated by the size of the rings on their fingers.

Wicoff, who did have an engagement ring, talks about this problem in her book.  Having a rather conspicuously large ring, she often felt embarrassed by the attention she received from other women and what it implied about her relationship, her fiancé, and her own identity.  She wanted to just accept it as something given out of love, something her fiancé picked out with her in mind, something which she herself thought was beautiful and enjoyed wearing, but the baggage that came along with the ring made it difficult to enjoy as thoroughly as she had hoped.

I know other women feel differently.  They love their rings and would reject the idea that engagement rings treat women as prizes to be won and men as sugar daddies and whatnot.  Many think rings are essential to making an engagement official, even though the diamond ring tradition didn’t become popular until the 20th century.  I know many women—including feminists—want a ring, and that is their decision.

But I didn’t.  Accepting the attention associated with an engagement ring would have made me feel like I was agreeing with the idea that I had been waiting my whole life to be the magical, mythical creature known as a bride.  That my value was tied to landing a man and the sparkly things he could give me.  That Jeremiah’s value was caught up in trying to make those sparkly things happen.  That, for some reason, as a woman I needed to wear my relationship status on my hand while my fiancé didn’t.  And I don’t even particularly like diamonds, and I’ve never been a ring person.  Giving in and wearing a ring would have been a win for jewelry companies, the larger wedding industry, advertising, capitalism itself!   An inexcusable waste of money on something I didn’t even want. Perhaps if we both were to wear engagement rings, I would have felt differently, but even that is doubtful.

I’m pretty sure at the time everyone thought I was overly political and generally crazy.  Some probably judged Jeremiah for no fault of his own, and many people probably thought even I would come around eventually and wish I had a rock.  But two years later, I still have no regrets.  Early on in our relationship, I had told Jeremiah that I had never wanted an engagement ring and would refuse any marriage proposal that included one.  I am glad I followed through with my convictions and preferences, and despite tiring of having to explain that choice to others, I have always been glad for the reason I could give.

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This post continues a series about feminism, engagement, and wedding planning.  Specifically, this post continues Pt. 2a on proposals.  For background, also see the first post in the series.

In terms of our own relationship, we kept the appearance of tradition in some ways because Jeremiah had been excited about proposing.  So yes, he did ask, and we did not call ourselves officially engaged until he did.  However, we were already planning our wedding by the time this occurred.  We had been talking about getting married more and more seriously over a few months’ time (really, it started after we’d only been dating a month; we got engaged four months from the beginning of our relationship and got married about six months after that).  Finally when we were flying home from the second of two summer trips to meet each others’ families, we picked a date for our wedding.

Some of our best friends and family members knew we were almost engaged already, and we told some of them about the date.  We also started investigating reception sites and rings and other such things.  But we were not publicly engaged for another couple weeks.  Of course, I knew it was going to happen after no more than two weeks, which actually made things more fun.  We talked openly about the coming proposal, and Jeremiah enjoyed stringing me along wondering which day he would pick and how he would do it.

Magic IQ Gift Box from ThinkGeekWhen the proposal did come, it was simple and private.  Jeremiah had ordered a wooden puzzle box from ThinkGeek, got me excited about it, but acted like he didn’t want me working on it.  Of course, that made me want to solve it before he did.  I think he intended to pique my interest but then for me to work on it in his presence.  Unfortunately for him, I solved it really fast while he was using the bathroom or his back was turned or something,though he was back in time for me to discover the note he had written and tucked inside earlier (when, unbeknownst to me, he had solved the box himself).  And we said some things.  I don’t remember what was said, but it was fairly casual—though heartfelt—without any sentimentality or show.  For goodness sakes, we were sitting in regular clothes after a regular day on my regular couch in my regular one-bedroom apartment.  Like any good 20-somethings, we then changed our Facebook relationship statuses to engaged, and that was that.

In many ways I did not have a “feminist” proposal.  I did not propose, as I had long imagined (and secretly hoped) I might someday.  We didn’t do Wicoff’s proposal month (as we hadn’t heard of it).  And ultimately, yes, Jeremiah didn’t get the experience of being asked, and I didn’t get the experience of asking.  However, I have never been particularly distressed by our proposal because it was really only a formality.

The proposal allowed me to have a fun surprise which Jeremiah enjoyed planning, but the actual decision to marry was one we made together before the proposal after a series of discussions we approached as equals.  And I think this is what mattered to me most as a feminist: as much as I might like to change our culture’s traditions relating to proposals, for me it was most important for the proposal’s significance to change rather than the gender of the asker.

This series is continued in Pt. 3.

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This post continues a series about feminism, engagement, and wedding planning.  For background, see the first post in the series.

Generally speaking, women seem to look forward to being proposed to.  I however, was not one of them.  It’s not that I dreaded a proposal or anything; getting married just seemed like a practical decision, not an occasion for elaborately arranged declarations of love.  In particular, I hated seeing those very public proposals at ballparks and nice restaurants.  If someone were asking me to marry them, I certainly had no interest in involving thousands—or even a handful—of other people, be they strangers or friends.  I didn’t understand why men arranged for their friends to snap photos of their “surprised” (really?) girlfriends’ faces when they got down on one knee, and quite frankly, kneeling itself felt too dramatic for my tastes.  I wanted simplicity.  Hey, so are we going to get married or what?  Yes, ok, well let’s do it then.

I don’t remember if I ever thought about proposals before my late teens, but the only stance I ever remember having towards them was one of complete apathy towards maintaining traditional gender roles.  In fact, I always thought it would be cool to be the one to initiate the getting-married conversation—after all, I had usually been the one to pursue guys growing up.  One day two-year-old me came home from preschool, gushing about how “Robbie kissed Ashleigh.”  As I went on, it became apparent that I had also started some kissing myself, and when my mom asked which happened first, I replied, “Ashleigh kissed Robbie.”  And that’s just how it’s been.  I don’t think I realized this was out of the ordinary for many, many years, long after I’d asked boys to hang out with me or told them I liked them.  It didn’t always work out, but I wasn’t about to like someone forever and not try to make something happen, and I thought that process should involve honest, direct communication.

I never thought much about how often the proposal itself pushes women into a place of hoping, waiting, and indirect communication—or even outright manipulation—until I read Wicoff’s book.  She talked about how frustrated she felt having to wait for her boyfriend to propose, how it felt like he had all the power to choose who and when he wanted to marry, while as a woman she only had the option of saying yes or no.  While they went about things the traditional way, she decided she also wanted a chance to propose and let her fiancé answer, which she did several months later—an experience she found beneficial in some ways but not everything she hoped, since after all, he hadn’t been waiting his whole life to be proposed to, and she didn’t put nearly as much time imagining the “perfect” proposal as he had.

This experience led Wicoff to suggest a “proposal month” in her book.  Basically, the idea is that a couple chats about the possibility of marrying, they pick a month or week or other span of time together during which they will both propose, and then they each go about planning their proposals.  The engagement is, to some extent, real from the time they decide to have a proposal month, but it is not quite official until both people have gotten to ask and be asked.

I thought this was a creative idea that would give each party the chance to both express and receive love—not not just say “yes” or “I love you, too,” but to independently declare their feelings and intentions.  While many couples do discuss their decision to marry ahead of time, it is not always definite or given a time frame until the proposal.  Wicoff’s proposal month suggestion gives women more say in whether and when marriage happens.  Additionally, it offers women the joy (and the pressure) of thinking of an exciting way to propose, and it allows men the chance to experience being the cherished and beloved.  To me, it seems like a win-win-win for women, men, and relationships.

This post is continued in Pt. 2b.

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